Laura Ricketts Designs

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands..."

Laura Ricketts Designs is a personal and business website for Laura Ricketts, hand-knitwear designer, author, teacher, crafter, mother and wife.

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round

Last weekend I went to a spinning retreat at Ancilla college/Lindenwood retreat center in Donaldson, Indiana. Donaldson is a minuscule village in the NW corner of Marshall County. Ancilla college itself is much more vibrant a community. The Poorhandmaids of Jesus Christ formed this community in the 1920s. The chapel there is breathtaking. More than that, they have a two-year college, a wonderful nursing home, a retreat center, and now, in the past four years, an art house called MoonTree Studios.

 The main drive of Ancilla College

The main drive of Ancilla College

We had about 30 spinners from the mid-to-northern Indiana, Eastern Illinois and Michigan gather for a weekend of solid spinning. I went there with four of the ladies I spin with at Crete's Hut in Winamac, Indiana. 

 Verna, Debbie, Rosemary and Deana

Verna, Debbie, Rosemary and Deana

My goal was to completely spin up a green yak/merino roving I had bought from The Trading Post in Pendleton, Indiana on my last retreat. I start it and spun up half of it, and I learned a bit how to do long draw and support spindling Orenberg-style on some color-matched yak/silk roving (the one in the beautiful braid). My plan is to ply those two together for a shawl. 

 Beautiful roving…!

Beautiful roving…!

Well, I got one bobbin full of the yak/merino. It was a bit fiddly to draft. Then, the second day, I knit on a cuff for a project that is due soon. I forgot the needles for the cuff, so I went down the line of ladies begging for size 2.25mm double points or circulars. I got a full set from a combination of three ladies with another providing the a needle gauge to measure them. Nothing like community!

 First bobbin

First bobbin

In the afternoon, I accepted a trade on some merino/tencel I had brought along to sell or trade. When I started spinning the Romney/alpaca/angora blend from Peg, I immediately pulled the yak off my wheel and plowed into the Romney blend! So nice to both spin, and learn the long draw technique on.  Since I've come home (early because of a snowstorm that dumped 10 inches [25 cm] on us), I've started a second bobbin of it.

Kate Larson taught about the Leicester breeds, which she owns, and how to spin locks in the grease.

 Kate Larson (with Susan Markle, owner of  the Trading Post  on the floor)

Kate Larson (with Susan Markle, owner of the Trading Post on the floor)

Sister Nancy sat next to me in the spinning room and we got to talking about spinning, knitting, MoonTree and the spiritual component of art. 

 Sister Nancy was snapping lots of pictures. I'm sure some will be up on the  MoonTree website .

Sister Nancy was snapping lots of pictures. I'm sure some will be up on the MoonTree website.

At the end of the time, I agreed to teach a few knitting and/or crochet classes at MoonTree, and have an exhibition at MoonTree early 2017. Watch this space for more information as time draws closer. I'm really excited to partner with them in fiber art!

Last night, I tried the support spindling again, this time with a shallow champagne cup and the yak/silk blend. It sort of worked. I need to practice adding the new fiber more.

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